Covid-19: Darjeeling bans tourists, complete lockdown in parts of Siliguri
With Covid-19 cases on the rise in north Bengal, the administration in Darjeeling district on Wednesday banned the entry of tourists to the hills till July 31.
In the plains, a complete lockdown will be enforced in nine community wards in Siliguri, north Bengal’s biggest town and trade hub and Jalpaiguri district from Thursday evening.
The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) on Wednesday withdrew its earlier decision to allow hotels and tourist spots in Darjeeling and adjoining Kalimpong to operate from July 1. Some hotels have also received guests.
Anit Thapa, chairman of board of administrators of GTA, said, “We have decided not to allow tourists in the GTA area from Thursday to July 31 in view of the rising number of Covid-19 cases across the country.”
Many people believe that the GTA’s decision was influenced by the fear among residents of Darjeeling that entry of tourists may spike Covid-19 cases.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts stood at 684 and 56 respectively on Tuesday. Many of the Covid-19 patients in the Darjeeling hills had travelled to Siliguri.
Thapa said, “I appeal to everyone not to visit Siliguri unless they have very important work to attend. They should not take unnecessary risk. From now on strict vigil will be kept on vehicles going and coming from Siliguri.”
The administration on Wednesday decided to impose complete lockdown in nine community wards in Siliguri and Jalpaiguri for seven days from 5 pm on Thursday. Twenty-nine people have died of Covid-19 in Siliguri.
There has been a growing demand for complete lockdown in all wards where Covid-19 cases have been reported in comparatively higher numbers. “This should be decided by an expert committee which needs to be constituted by the administration,” said Animesh Bose, joint coordinator of Siliguri Fight Corona Committee.